THE TRIBUNE | Wedesday. August 3. 2016 | PAGE 7
By ALEXANDER HAWKINS
GOING into its second year, more participants a r e expected to hit the roads for Run for Pompey in October in Exuma, a n event which celebrates Bahamian his- tory,cultureandsport,ac- cording to organisers a n d tourism officials yesterday.
More than 2 0 0 people from several countries took part in the inaugural Run forPompeylastyearand officials believe this year’s event, set for October 7 for 9 and expected to add at least 6 0 0 room nights during Exuma’s typically slow period, will draw even more. BAF Financial & In- surance L t d will again b e the title sponsor.
Run for Pompey sees runners compete in six distance races – 2km ‘Georgetown Dash’, 5km, 10k half marathon, marathon and the gruelling ultra marathon (50km), the only one in The Bahamas – to raise money for a scholarship for Exuma’s best and brightest students.
The racers run in the footsteps if Pompey, the slave who risked his life to sail to New Providence to convince the Governor of The Bahamas not to allow the splitting up of slave families with whom he lived with. In 1830, the then 32-year- old Pompey led a rebellion against h is British plantation owner. Lord John Rolle, who had declared that Pompey and 76 other slaves would be moved from Exuma to Cat Island. Local historians have said that Pompey’s rebellion marked the birth o f th e “freedom fight” that concluded with the emancipation o f local slaves in 1838.
Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Chester Cooper, the president of BAF and Pauline Davis-Thompson, The Bahamas’ Olympic gold medal winner descended from Exuma, attended the launch.
Mr. Cooper said of Pompey that he “symbolises the spirit of fighting for what you believe in.” All proceeds from the event are channeled into an educational scholarship for your Exumians, which last year send one young lady to Acadia University in Canada.
The Ministry o f Tourism also believes that this event can be a boon for the economy o f Exuma. “Pompey is one of our first national heroes, so it’s appropriate that this Run will be held on National Heroes Day,” Mr Thompson said. “Run for Pompey has all the elements of a tourism winner, opportunities to bring visitors and locals together for a weekend of activities that brings focus to Exuma’s unique history and stunning beauty.”
The Run for Pompey luring guests to Exuma in October also coincides with the Ministry’s “Bahamas Love” calendar, a year of romance with a different focus each month, noted Mr Thompson.
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The event that transformed distance running in the out islands last year, adding popularity and prestige, is back, and once again, set for the National Heroes Day holiday weekend in Exuma, Bahamas.
The 2nd Annual Run for Pompey, featuring six differ-ent runs, will be held October 7-9,2016, with a starting point at the regatta site in the island’s capital, George Town. Interested persons could register for the two kilometer (k), 5k, lok, half marathon, full marathon or 50k ultra marathon races.
The event is expected to showcase Exuma and everything the island has to offer once again. Race day is actually set for Saturday October 8. There will be a number of festivities surrounding the actual event.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, we are delighted to be sponsors with BAF Financial for the second annual Run for Pompey,” said Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Tourism. “Pompey is actually one of the first national heroes of The Bahamas, so it’s only fitting that this event will be held on the National Heroes Day holiday weekend. Also, Exuma is an excellent venue to host this event.
We look at Exuma as one of the natural wonders of the world. When you look at the beautiful blue waters and the international sensations such as the swimming pigs, you come to realize that the island has a lot to offer. It is a great honor for the Ministry of Tourism to participate in this event. This event brings focus to Exuma, and the opportunity for us to promote it.”
About 200 participants took part in the inaugural running of the event last year — 25-30 percent of which were foreign guests. Thompson said that they are expecting an increase this year, especially with there being regular non-stop flights from Miami and Atlanta in the United States, and Toronto in Canada, into Exuma. With that, he expects the event to add at least 600 room nights during Exuma’s typically slow period, thereby creating a great boost to the economy.
Sandy Morley, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of BAF Financial & ‘Insurance (Bahamas) Ltd., said that they were elated to come on board as the title sponsor of the event once again.
“It is with great pleasure that BAF announces its sponsorship with the Run for Pompey,” said Morley. “Pompey symbolizes the underlying spirit to fight for what you believe in, and to push yourself to achieve your goals no matter the circumstances. Pompey fought to keep the families of slaves together. Today, many of us fight for the future of The Bahamas. Pompey displayed tenacity, pride and commitment in his quest to have the plight of slaves on Exuma brought to light.
“BAF was blown away with the popularity of last year’s event and couldn’t wait to get on board again. This event speaks to BAF pride and commitment to the history, culture and community of Exuma. The best part for us from a year ago, was that part proceeds from this event went toward a scholarship in helping to better the life of a resident from Exuma. We would like to express our true appreciation for being afforded the opportunity to partner with such a prestigious event. We are proud to be a part of it.”
Pompey himself was one of thousands of slaves in the islands during the early 1800s. He led a slave revolt and uprising that eventually led to British Governor of The Bahamas at that time ruling in their favor in allowing slaves to remain with their families on one island, Exuma.
Pompey was hailed as a hero, though later receiving 39 lashes as punishment. His actions is considered a key precursor to the emancipation in The Bahamas in August 1838. Run for Pompey represents a movement to further honor his memory, providing an annual schol- arship for students of E.xu- ma in need. Last year. Troyann Forbes, a student of L.N. Coakley Senior High School, was the recipient of the scholarship. She plans to attend Acadia University in the fall.
Once again, Olympic gold medalist Pauline Davis-Thompson is serving as the official patron of the event.
“It was truly a pleasure and delight to be the patron for the Run for Pompey last year, and to do it again,” said Davis-Thompson. “In the beginning. I did not know a lot about Mr. Pompey, but I now realize that persons like myself stand on his broad shoulders. This is the indomitable spirit where the Bahamian people came from and this is where one would have gotten that from.”
Davis-Thompson said that the island of Exuma holds a special place in her heart because it is the origin of her. grandfather, Thomas Davis.
“I’m proud as a Bahamian to be a part of this great oranization. I’m proud that BAF is sponsoring this event for a second time in a row.” she said. “For those of you who weren’t there last year, you must come this year. The atmosphere was just amaz- ing, and the island is just beautiful. You must come, you must bring your running shoes, and you must participate because Pompey got it all started for us.”
Representing the host hotel, the Grand Isle Resort & Spa, Sherial Mortimer said they are glad to he on hoard, and are truly looking forward to the event. The Grand Isle Resort And Spa will host a pasta night on the Friday night of the event.
“Grand Isle is aboard because Pompey is such an important part of Exuma’s history.” said .Mortimer. “Exuma is a beautiful island, and bringing this event to the forefront, it was a no brainer for us to get on board as a primary sponsor again this year.”
The Run for Pompey event is being promoted as another huge extravaganza in sports tourism’s “Sports in Paradise” brand. At least five major international events are planned to be hosted in The Bahamas next year.
“Part of our strategy is to go after sports tourism and bring tourists to this destination,” said Deputy Director General Thompson. “This is actually bringing sports tourism to the Family Islands, so it’s great in terms of bringing awareness to the islands and bringing eco- nomic activity to the island. People will come to the islands and spend their money on the hotels, transportation and also restaurants
and the local businesses, so this particular event is really a shot in the arm for Exuma.”
The Run for Pompey also coincides with the ministry’s “Bahamas Love” calendar, a year of romance with a dif-ferent focus each month noted the Deputy Director General.
Interested persons can register for the event on the website: http://runforpompey.com/registration/
It was more than 185 years ago that Pompey, a slave living in Exuma, sparked a rebellion that stopped a transfer order that would have separated 77 men, women and children from their families.
On a sunny day in Emerald Bay, L N Coakley High School helped write the next page in Bahamian history when a young woman was awarded the first ever Pompey Scholarship for her commitment not only to her studies, but the community at large.
The best part? Troyann Forbes said she never saw it coming.
“It feels wonderful and it is very overwhelming. I did not expect it at all,” Forbes said, who will a
ttend Acadia University in Canada this fall to study Biology. “I am just so grateful.”
The Pompey Scholarship is the aftermath of the inaugural Run for Pompey, held last October during National Heroes Day Weekend. It attracted more than 200 runners from four different countries, including Canada, the United States, the UK and the Bahamas. Featuring a 2K “George Town Dash”, 10K, half marathon, full marathon and the country’s first and only 50K “ultra marathon” race, Run for Pompey takes to the streets of Exuma once more on October 9, 2016.
The event features commemorative Pompey medals for all participants, wood-carved trophies for the winners by age category and even a special “Pasta Night Party” the evening before the race at Grand Isle Resort, the official hotel partner.
Legendary “Golden Girl” Pauline Davis-Thompson will again serve as Run for Pompey’s patron and drape medals around every neck at the finish line, while offering remarks during the Pasta Night and at L N Coakley High School.
From left: Chester Cooper, President of BAF Financial (Bahamas) Limited and Title Sponsor of Run for Pompey ; Troyann’s mother ; Troyann Forbes, winner of The Pompey Scholarship 2016; Lynnmore Taylor, GIV Bahamas Inc.; Danny Stratchan, Board Member at Exuma Foundation of Canada. CREDIT: KEVIN TAYLOR
The latter, L N Coakley High School, and its bright young minds, are the inspiration behind the event for co-founders Kevin Taylor, the owner of DreamKatcher Media, and the team at GIV Bahamas Inc in Exuma.
“It is a proud moment today,” said Lynmore Taylor, who represented GIV Bahamas Inc.
“This is our first scholarship and we plan to do many more. We are proud to be an organization based on community and helping young people.”
GIV Bahamas Inc. is joined by a number of sponsors, including BAF Financial & Insurance (Bahamas) Limited, MRI Nassau and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
“We believe Run for Pompey cements the legacy, history and culture of Exuma,” said Chester Cooper, the President of BAF Financial and title sponsor of the race. “Exuma is a magnificent place. Pompey has a magnificent story. The legacy and history, mixed with the event itself, on the marathon and tourism calendar of the Bahamas, make this a magnificent offering.”
Cooper, who was on hand to present The Pompey Scholarship, added that BAF’s support of Run for Pompey “is a win-win and no-brainer for BAF”.
Other important sponsors of Run for Pompey include Caribbean Bottling Company (official hydration partner), Sands Beer (official beer), Grand Isle Resort (official hotel), Ty’s Sunset Bar & Grill, Catch a Fire, February Point, BahamasLocal.com, Sports 4 and Chat N Chill.
The donation for The Pompey Scholarship will be made to Acadia University by the newly formed Exuma Foundation of Canada, which has provided a unique off-shoot of the existing Exuma Foundation.
Danny Strachan, the General Manager and Treasurer of the Exuma Foundation, and a Board Member of the Exuma Foundation of Canada, believes the two organizations will have a “tremendous impact” on the community of Exuma.
He also commended GIV Bahamas Inc and the Exuma Foundation of Canada for their efforts to bring about an annual, world-class event for the island.
“We want to improve the quality of life for all Exumians and we will continue to work together to accomplish this,” he explained. “She has been a very strong community leader in sports, academics, church, and really trying to improve the whole community. That is why she was chosen.”
And another amazing moment for Run For Pompey! With the 1st Ever Bahamian Female runner to finish an Ultra Marathon!!
Marilyn Simmons Bowe!!! What an incredible run!
Its oficial!! Run for Pompey has the pleasure to award the first Bahamian to ever finish an Ultra Marathon!! Stephen Pintard is embraced with such excitement by patron, Pauline Davis-Thompson ! HISTORIC Moment no doubt!
Winner of the Half Marathon, Miami based marathon runner Frankie Ruiz (Second from left) poses with Run for Pompey’s Jeff Todd (Middle) and the delightful medal guardians!
Race Day! – Mid Morning Segment
Pauline Davis-Thompson embraces a runner who powers through to the end
One of our #RunningSelfie contest winner LeileiLight Lightbourn approaches the finish line!
Race Day! – Morning Segment
_ 5K runners with an early finish!
Patron & two times Olympic Gold Medalist Pauline Davis-Thompson presents them their medals and poses for a historic picture in Run for Pompey’s inaugural race!
Race Day! Early start
Warming up, getting focused.